10 Things You Did Not Know About Portugal

The 10.5 mile Vasco De Gama Bridge

The 10.5 mile Vasco De Gama Bridge

Portugal is often overshadowed by its next door neighbour, Spain.

A common consensus it that it is a lot like Spain – but that couldn’t be less true.

Portugal is an incredible country with its own amazing culture and history.

So here are ten things you may not have known about Portugal.

  1. Portuguese is spoken by approximately 240 million people around the world, and is the official language of 9 countries! It ranks in as the 8th most spoken language in the world.  The top 3 being: Chinese, English and then Spanish.
  2. A lot of people around the world are of Portuguese descent.  Estimates show that 12% of inhabitants of Luxembourg are of Portuguese descent.  More interestingly, Paris has the second biggest Portuguese city inhabitants outside of Lisbon.
  3. Last time you popped open a bottle of wine; chances are that the cork was made in Portugal, as they are accredited with over 50% of the world’s cork being produced there.
  4. The Portuguese Empire was actually the first global empire in the history of the world. It was in 1494, that the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed – which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the “New Word”, this included Brazil, Africa, and Asia.
  5. Portugal is the oldest country in Europe!  Portugal has had the same country borders since 1139, which makes it the oldest nation-state in the continent.
  6. The longest bridge in Europe can be found in Portugal, the Vasco De Gama bridge stretches for 10.5 miles and can be found in Lisbon.
  7. Portugal suffered one of the worst earthquakes in European history, killing 275,000 residents of Lisbon.  The earthquake recorded a 9.0 on the Richter scale and was followed by a tsunami – leaving a lot of the city in rubble; in fact reports say that almost 85% of the city’s buildings were destroyed!
  8. Portugal was the first colonial power to abolish slavery.  A long time before the US and Britain.
  9. Lisbon is the oldest European capital, only after Athens.  It is reportedly over 4 centuries older than Rome.
  10. Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, was the first man to sail around the world on his expedition in 1519.

So there you have it, 10 amazing facts about Portugal.

Next time you think of Portugal make sure to think of its rich history, or it’s incredible explorers.

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About Darren

Darren is the founder of Villas in Portugal and blogs about all things to do with maximising your holiday in Portugal. You can follow us on twitter (@VillaHunters) or subscribe to our email updates using the box on the right.

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